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Prof. Jason Dittmer – Georg Bollenbeck Fellow 2017

I am a political geographer at University College London, and I visited Siegen for two months in 2017 after being invited by Dr. Daniel Stein. I had of course been aware of the tremendous work in the humanities being undertaken in Siegen but the invitation was a fantastic opportunity to immerse myself in its research culture and experience the community myself.

My current research is thinking about contemporary Gibraltar through assemblage theory, emphasising the circulation of materials within and through the polity. In 2017 I was working on earlier iterations of this theoretical project, especially trying to think ‘popular culture’ through the lenses of materiality, embodiment, and affect. When happily ensconced in my office — with the tremendous views of the countryside — I was working on a paper that was thinking about military heritage and the embodied experience of museums. But when I was out and about — engaged with the amazing staff and students of Siegen — I was talking through the wider relation of popular culture and geopolitics as it is being taken up in the Popular Culture research group. This ranged from superheroes (a topic on which I wrote an earlier book) to German pulp fiction to early classical geopolitical theory (a topic no less fictional than the first two).

My time in Siegen really helped me by introducing me to a range of world-class scholars working in parallel to my own interests. It was also a delightful time for me and my (then) 4-year-old daughter, who was able to come along and enjoy Siegen’s extraordinarily child-friendly campus. I am so grateful for the time in Siegen. I hope to continue collaboration with the wonderful scholars of Siegen working at the intersection of popular culture and geopolitics!

Prof. Jason Dittmer
Professor of Political Geography
University College London
North-West Wing, Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT